ONLINE GROUP: Terri-Ann Carter has started an online cancer support group.
ONLINE GROUP: Terri-Ann Carter has started an online cancer support group. Luka Kauzlaric

Online support group for local cancer patients grows

TO help ease the isolation and emotional stress of going through cancer treatment and recovery, Terri-Ann Carter looked to social media to share her personal journey with others.

After returning to Gladstone from Brisbane where Miss Carter underwent surgery and eight weeks of chemotherapy and radiation, she started an online support group for cancer sufferers on Facebook.

Gladstone Cancer Friends now has 41 members who post their personal thoughts about their battle with cancer and offer help and advice to others.

Miss Carter said even though family and friends were there for support, it is good to talk to someone who has gone through the same thing.

"(The group is there) just to talk, to share your story and talk about your side effects, and hear what other people are going through," she said.

"Chemo, it's one of the worst things to ever, ever experience. Anyone can tell you that, but unless you experience it - it's beyond knowing what it is really like."

"So it's good to relate to someone else who is going through the same thing."

In October 2012, Miss Carter found a lump on her neck, which she thought was an insect bite. In February last year, after multiple tests, a PET scan eventually revealed that the lump was cancerous.

It's not about raising money, it's just supporting each other.

Suffering a massive heart attack in January meant that she couldn't receive treatment normally and had to undergo chemotherapy in smaller doses every Monday.

"So I lost 24 kg, I didn't eat for nine weeks, I had feeding tubes in and I was continually in and out of hospital for dehydration and my nutrition," she said.

"I just got to the point where I didn't want to go on anymore and they brought counsellors and psychologists in to help me, but family is what got me through it mostly."

Now six months in remission Miss Carter said the fear of relapse and feeling isolated was a constant burden - two things she said Gladstone Cancer Friends can help sufferers cope with.

The local business owner has high hopes for the site, which could one day offer a physical presence as well as online support for sufferers of all types of cancer.

"I'd love to do a morning tea, once or twice a year and invite all the members there so they can meet and talk face to face," she said.

"It's not about raising money, it's just supporting each other.

"There's a lot of people out there that do a lot of things for cancer, raising money, but mine just has the sole purpose of emotional support."

Anyone interested in joining the group should search Gladstone Cancer Friends on Facebook.

ONLINE GROUP: Terri-Ann Carter has started an online cancer support group.
ONLINE GROUP: Terri-Ann Carter has started an online cancer support group. Luka Kauzlaric


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